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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Fat Girls, Judging and Culture

When my father was alive I rarely saw or heard from him. When I did somewhere in that conversation would be a question about my weight. As out of the norm as I thought this was, I have to come to learn that I was far from alone. I have several women friends who have told me similar stories of dads being overly concerned with their weight. These are not obese women. To this I must ask, what the heck?!

Consequently, I grew up to be a woman with some pretty strong body image issues. Me and most of the women in America I dare posit. This is why I was so ecstatic and stunned frankly, when a man decided to shine a light on the double standard we all know and we all see, but don't talk about: A man, especially a successful man, can date up in the looks department, but even if he's not such a looker himself, he probably wouldn't date a heavy girl.

On an episode of Louie, last week, comedian, writer, director Louis CK cracked that notion wide open in an episode called, So Did the Fat Lady. In this episode he is confronted by a woman he keeps turning down.  Eventually she calls him on his bias, and yes, fear. The fear of being seen as the man with the fat girl. It is brilliant and completely on target.

And the thing is, it isn't just men doing this to us. We are doing it to ourselves. We are our own worst critics - of ourselves and each other. I will admit it, right here: at times I sometimes judge others because I judge myself harshly.

I'm thinking it's time for a revolution. Most of us are not Giselle Bundchen and never will be, but we are all special and lovely in our own way. It's time for us to be kinder to ourselves, and to each other.

The first step I think, is to stop buying magazines that tell us how broken we are. That are thighs aren't far enough apart, or lumpy or your stomach isn't concave, and your pores are too big. Oh my god, who cares?! Does a thigh gap make you a better, kinder person who is trying to do something meaningful with your life? Hardly. All it means is by some genetic lottery that's what you got.

It is misguided to think we are nothing more than the bodies we walk around in. We are all more than our bra and jean sizes. We need to stop feeling ashamed of our imperfections and realize they are what  make us who we are.

As I said, I struggle along with everyone else. For every one nice thing I say to myself, there are at least twenty awful ones. But there is hope. The more aware we become of those thoughts, those sighs we express when we look in the mirror, and the more we compliment each other, the better we feel. When we stop being mean to ourselves, we will become kinder to others as well.

Life is not a one-size-fits-all journey and we need to stop trying to shove ourselves into jeans that just don't fit and love ourselves just as we are.

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